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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bondi Band Winner!

One of my favorite designs!
Have I shared my love of Bondi Band with you?  If not, let me tell you - I love this company!  You see, when I run or bike I sweat.  A lot.  I tried a few different kinds of headbands but apparently my head and/or hair is slippery (which sounds kinda gross but it's not) because they'd always end up moving during my workout.  Until I found Bondi Band.  I love the heavy wicking headbands.  They stay put and collect the sweat so I can focus on the activity at hand.

I also love them because the band is wide enough that on the cool mornings I can pull the headband down over my ears for a little warmth as well as sweat collection.  Dual purpose in my book is awesome!

When Bondi Band introduced compression to their product line I practically squealed with delight.  In fact, I think I did!  The patterns they offer were fun and practical so I ordered up a pair of these argyle sleeves.  I've worn them after my long runs and races this year with great results.  After 8-13.1 miles there is no better feeling than pulling on some compression sleeves for a few hours!!  Plus, I've gotten quite a few compliments about them!

Last week I celebrated reaching my goal weight by kicking off a contest to give away some of my favorite work out gear from Bondi Band!  The fabulous folks over there offered to give away three headbands and a pair of compression socks!  I'm thrilled to announce that Erika L. is the winner!!  Congratulations Erika!  I'll be in touch shortly!

Thank you to everyone else for celebrating my anniversary by entering this contest!  If you haven't ordered up some Bondi Band products yet, do it now!!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Let's Celebrate!

Taken about two weeks after I joined Weight Watchers
July 2010
It has been a year since I reached my goal weight and I am so proud and excited to have maintained a 215 pound weight loss.  This is not something that I ever thought possible - in fact I never thought I'd be a Weight Watchers member more than six months.  You see, I had done Weight Watchers before.  In 2001 while a bunch of my co-workers were attending "At Work" meetings I joined as an online member.  I sort of wanted to join the meetings too but it was too far to walk!  When I followed the on-line program I lost a bunch of weight but I figured I could continue doing this on my own and I quit.  I was wrong. I gained back all that I had lost and more.
Eleven months and 104 pounds later
June 2011

I had been thinking for awhile that something needed to change but I had no idea what that change needed to be.  Every week I kept saying (to myself because I was afraid of admitting it to anyone else) that I was going to start a diet but I never committed to it.  When my friend, Sheri, called me and asked me to join with her I was reluctant.  I am tremendously thankful that she was so persistent!  When I joined I found out that I could still eat and drink my favorite things.  This was extremely important to me because I needed to learn how to cook, portion control and even eat out all while staying on plan.

The group that I joined was also a huge part of my success.  There was one member, Diane, in particular that really kept me motivated.  We joined Weight Watchers on the same day and we both had over 100 pounds to lose.  I used Diane hitting milestones as motivation -- if she could do it then there was no reason I couldn't.  As much as I always wanted my weight loss to be a downward trend I realize that my weight gain never was and that I needed to learn my weight loss lessons.  Those lessons included learning what triggered unhealthy eating and drinking and finding ways to manage that.

Half Marathon #5 - April 2014
In addition to those lessons I also needed to learn about activity.  I always shied away from activity because of my weight.  When I was in 7th/8th grade I played basketball and hated that I was always the slowest one on the team.  I hated P.E. (Physical Education) class because I'd almost instantly start sweating and my face would turn red.  Except I knew that now was the time to get active.  An encouraging call from my sister to start training for my first 5K was exactly what I needed when I needed it to get the ball rolling.  That seems like ancient history because in the nearly four years that I've been a Weight Watchers member I've completed numerous short distance races (5K, 9K, 10K, 15K) and SIX FREAKING HALF MARATHONS!  I'm finally comfortable working out in front of other people (most of the time) regardless of whether my face is beet red or I'm sweating profusely.  I've learned that with activity I can just go out and have fun.
Seriously - this medal is ENORMOUS.
And Heavy.
I (obviously) love it so much!

Now, if you think that reaching your goal weight means you get to relax a little bit you might be slightly delusional.  Early on in my journey that's exactly what I thought but as I got closer and finally got to maintenance I realized that it is just as hard as losing the weight.  However, I realized that one thing that made weight loss (and maintenance) hard was focusing on the things that I used to eat rather than all the things that I've developed a serious passion for over the last four years.  This is another one of the reasons that I think gradual weight loss is so beneficial because it gives you the time to figure out what you like so you can truly enjoy it.  I also think that as we reach our goal weight and maintenance that we celebrate less.  There are no more milestones to reach or goals to hit so we have to celebrate other things.  Like getting giant medals!  Being able to celebrate our accomplishments certainly keeps me going and gives me something to look forward to!

What about you?  How do you celebrate?

In the name of celebrating, one of my most favorite companies in the whole world is letting me give away some fantastic products!  Have you seen/tried the wonderful products from Bondi Band?  The prize pack that we're giving away includes 3 headbands and a pair of compression socks.  Go, register now!  And tell all your friends!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Journey's Half Marathon Race Goals

Leaving the starting line in May of 2011
I can't believe that my next half marathon is coming up THIS WEEKEND!!  This race has such a special place in my heart and I am so excited to be heading back up there.  It was this event back in 2011 when I started getting active.  I'd lost about 75 pounds by the time race day came around and while I'd been training to walk my first 5K and I really just hoped that I'd be able to finish the race.  Oh, how things have changed since that day!

Coming in to the finish,
May 2012
Last year when I ran the 5K I finished 7th in my age group and I was really looking forward to tackling the course again and seeing if I'd improved my 5K time.  Then, after the Oshkosh Half Marathon last month my brother-in-law, Alex, asked if I was going to run Eagle River?  I immediately responded no.  Then as Dan and I were driving home I started to think about it and had commented that I thought I was 5 minutes off my PR time and Dan reminded me that I was actually under 2 minutes off my PR time and then the decision was made... I wanted another crack at running 13.1 miles.

Not only is this half marathon course brand new to me but it is also a point to point.  I'm obviously hoping for a brand new PR since I was so close last month, however, I think this course is going to be a bit hillier than Oshkosh.  The other goals I have in mind:

After the race
May 2013
  1. Start slow and maintain a good pace.  Negative splits, meaning the last half of the miles are faster than the first half, are always my goal but they've never happened.  Maybe this is the race!
  2. Fuel regularly.  In Oshkosh I fueled every 3 miles and that seemed to work well so I am going to try that again.
  3. Relax.  Drop my shoulders and breathe.  I tend to run with my shoulders all hunched up and then I hurt later so I'll spend some time every mile to evaluate my posture.
  4. Stretch post-race.  My IT band has been super cranky lately so I know I need to stretch and foam roll.
  5. Have fun.  All of the hard work is done so I just need to enjoy the scenery, my fellow runners and my time on the course.
If you'd like to show me some love perhaps you'd consider making a tax deductible donation to support my NEXT half marathon in July.  The money donated goes to support the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and is 100% tax deductible.